Index funds for foreigners (non-us investors)

So I got some cash idle in account after the crypto arbitrage and though we have 9 year bull market and even such tables:

Perspective: S&P500

1997 -2000 +2x
2000 -2002 -50%
2002 -2007 +2x
2007 – 2009 -50%
2009 -2018 +~3x

I still believe there is 50/50 chance for Bull/Bear market in next 10 years. (currentS&P500 is @ 2767)

My initial idea with stock market was to make an passive index myself, buying stocks from S&P500 for the same amount. Buy i noticed it takes too much time, so i decided to go for the index funds and delete the IB trader app from my laptop.

The problem: foreigners can not buy low cost Vanguard index funds. The solution: I decided to buy iShares ETFs by BlackRock.

I have chosen:

  • ITOT Expense ratio 0.03%. (6.6% of my stock portfolio)
  • IJR Expense ratio 0.07%. (15% of my stock portfolio) (Small cap companies)
  • ICOL Expense ratio 0.61% (9% of my stock portfolio) (Columbia)
  • QQQC Expense ratio 0.65% (10% of my stock portfolio) (Chinese tech companies)

My current strategy is to continue investing in P2P loans with collateral, after the market crash of 20%+ start accumulating ITOT.

  • 40% of my stock portfolio is invested in indexes/ETFs
  • 9% of my net worth is invested in stock market.
  • 6.8% of all stock portfolio is in Softbank

Currently i hold these stocks:

Amazon FBA fail. Focus.

I am constantly looking to buy internet businesses. Usually I do that in Latonas and EmpireFlippers, sometimes Flippa. 2016 Amazon FBA businesses for sale appeared at quite nice valuation 24-30 months income with few hours per week of management. I have analysed 30-50 such businesses but decided not to buy as the risk was too big of not knowing many things. Therefor decided to try to do one product by myself. Initially i spent 100+ hours learning, by reading blogs, watching youtube and listening to podcasts. I even got a mentor who was running single FBA product successfully.  He gave me some shortcuts on product selection, shipping and general questions which would have taken me 10s of hours to find out in couple of minutes.

First i started analysing products that i was passionate / interested myself. As I had some backpain problems, I checked

  • foam rollers – even though the profit margins are insane in this niche, the competition is crazy.
  • standing desks converters – the competition is quite low, but I decided not to do this because the initial investment by my calculations had to be around 40k € to start this, and this is too big amount for me for testing. Another reason is that i stopped believing in converters myself (after using them) and i think the electric standing desk + monitor mount is the best solution for workplace. I might get back to this business in Spain. One of the german companies i admire that sell direct and on Amazon.

So after skipping those two I have chose the ‘perfect’ product for beginner: baby crib bumper. To go more niche and have no competition I decided to manufacture “black crib bumper”. I have ordered 3 samples and decided to go through with one manufacturer. His sample was good, and his communication skills were best. Initially he asked me for 70% down payment, but we agreed on 30%, but I paid 34% as I was eligible to get Alibaba assurance something with free inspection. (at the end i did not get alibaba free inspection and had to hire my own)

So after a product was done – I have sent inspection service – and fail rate was 40%. I was shocked and a factory promised to fix everything. At second inspection i was expecting fail rate to be less than 3%, but it came to 18%, (10% that i would pass and 8% that were really bad).

Finally I have made decision to skip on this deal. My total loss with this learning / experiment was about 1200€.

What i have learned from this:

  1. Textile is difficult. (I have a friend selling t-shirts. he flies to Bangladesh, Vietnam to check for quality himself)
  2. I need to focus. This was my side business that i was not passionate about at all just did for the sake of doing.

Now I am back to grow my dating and classified ads sites 85% of my time and 15% looking for passive investments.

 

 

P2P portfolio update: 2017.10 – 2018.04

Previous update here

EstateGuru. I have increased my allocation to 7.5% of my net worth in this platform. Turned off the auto-invest and doing investment manually. I have contacted support for improving the service with more abilities to filter the auto-invest settings, but they refused to do that. I see the biggest risk in projects, where collateral is Land (I rarely invest manually to Land collateral) or some risky projects such as:

 €1.000.000 house 30 minute drive from Tallinn. I am pretty sure that if this house was offered 50% discount from current valuation it would take months to sell it.

All the projects in Curonian Spit are extremely sensitive. The biggest risk with such projects is Government. The numbers might be right, but if they do not get a permit (which by law they technically should get in X amount of time) the numbers fall apart.

EstateGuru is the first P2P lending company I recommend to my friends Get a 0,5% cash back with this referral ID: EGU11239

Bondora. Doing nothing with the account. Auto-invest is turned off. Waiting for more results from #strategy3. After 15 months from the start of this experiment I am approaching 50% mark of defaults. I know that 60% default rate would still bring me good return, but i have a feeling that i will have 70-80% of default from strategy3. The good thing that i put only 0,5% of my networth into this strategy testing, and still with the 75% default rate i think i would not lose the money.

Mintos. I have increased my allocation in this platform to 2.5% of net worth. I converted to all the possible currencies and split the risk between different platforms, currencies. Majority of operators i took those who offer collateral. The bad thing i did i exchanged too many DKK and 80% of this currency sits idle, and none of investments available in both primary and secondary market.

Twino. My lowest allocation.

 

 

Housers. They are pushing good ads. I liked especially the one that they claim that real returns are greater than expected. Still they do not convince me

Why I do not like them in short: (longer review here)
1. not clear about the collaterals. Especially on different types of loans.
2. no auto-invest
Maybe later on they will be my next P2P allocation to specific projects where the collateral is clear and understandable. Currently i understand only For buy-to-let and buy-to-sell projects.
USA p2p: PeerStreet, RealtyMogul.
I am thinking  of opening account there. I think it would be a good hedge country and currency wise, especially now when €/$ is @ 1,23. The thing that is stopping me that i have to incorporate in USA (±400$) and hire accountant (500$). So if I invest 50k$ that is 2% fee for first year and 1% fee for next one. Also I have read in many blogs and comments that Auto-invest is also crazy there where majority of projects goes to California.

1 year with Bondora Strategy #3

I have started investing in Bondora in August of 2015 and noticed that loans that default, usually default on first payment. Therefor I came up with strategy #3: invest in HR (high risk) loans, with interest rate 50%+

After almost 12 months, i have following results:

Total loans  523 (473 not repaid yet) loans purchased, with 5483 of principal and 73% interest rate.

Defaulted 109 loans, with principal of 1388€ and interest rate of 75%

So it comes that only 25% of loans defaulted during first year with average interest rate of 74%.

On one hand it seems it should make extremely good returns, but on the other hand the current cash flows does not add up. If i count the cashflows in a simple diminishing way and multiply it by 5 years, the total amount returned will not generate return an might have negative return.

p.s. how do i chek what return i have made on repaid loans ? (523-473=50 repaid loans)

I do not find an answer if my strategy is good or bad.  I even tried manual XIRR calculation suggested by P2P-Banking for all of my portfolio, and I got following results:

Cryptocurrency investment

Being interested in Cryptocurrencies from 2017 July and thinking about investing in different ICOs or Coins finally I made 1,5% of my networth investment in cryptocurrencies.

I exit my investment in 5 years or if any of coins will get 10X.

The process:

  1. I opened account at Kraken (ETH, BTC, LTC) and Bitfinex (IOTA, NEO, EOS)
  2. Did verification of corporate account in Kraken. (didn’t do the verification in bitfinex, because i did not deposit/withdraw fiat currencies there). Verification in Kraken was quite easy. Some general questions and documents, 2 days of waiting and verified. (though i do not recommend Kraken for the constantly crashing website, as well i do not recommend Bitfinex after reading this article)
  3. Deposited 1.5% of my networth. (amount not significant to fully lose, and a good lottery ticket)
  4. decided on portfolio structure:
  • BTC 30% store of value. (gold)
  • ETH 40% smart contracts, base currency for all other new services/currencies.
  • LTC 15% strong leadership, common form of payment.
  •  MIOTA 5% coin for Internet of Things transactions.
  • NEO 5% better version of Chinese Etherium
  • EOS 5% just got a recommendation from friend who runs Currexy.com

The real portfolio ended up like this: (made some mistakes with currency pairs and/or exchanges. Be careful – write everything on paper before executing)

5. For tracking portfolio i setuped CryptoCompare (they do not have official App)

6. I created paper wallets (except EOS) and moved half of investment from exchange to paper wallet

my private keys on self made (wife made) paper wallet

7. My initial strategy was to hold it for 5 years or 10x, but after the bull rally after 7-9 from my investment, i decided that the volatility is too high here, and changed strategy to cash out half of coins (take back investment) and other half leave for 5 years.

===

Values of cryptos at the day of investing were 250M

For the BTC, it reached the highest price ever. I was waiting for BTC to go down for a long time. First i wanted to buy it at 3k (as i calculated that that 1% of Gold in the planet is equal to 1 BTC) then it was trading at 5.5k usd so i waited it to drop to 5k)

The side effects of investing in cryptos:

  1. there is some kind of paranoia while making paper wallets and writing them down. Article on other paranoias related to crypto
  2. even though I invested only 1.5% of my NW, I noticed that i spend 50% of my time at the computer, reading about Crypto and checking life portfolio.

Blockchain Graveyard. Crypto incidents

December 10th. I started exiting my positions, because the market started flooding with fools money. And in my opinion the last fool will pay that. Not only i have read about people mortgaging their houses or selling cars to invest in bitcoin, but even from my circle I knew people who borrow money with huge interest to buy bitcoin or 14 year old kids investing in cryptos (it is not bad to invest in cryptos, but the portfolio should be in other asset classes as well).

Bitcoin – millennials fake gold

So in 20 days, I have made 70% on my initial investment and added 1% of my networth. It may seem quite little, but stick to Warren Buffett’s rule ‘never lose the money’

Final thoughts

I learned a lot doing real trading.

After closing IOTA positions, i do not understand why it is #4 currency. To transfer mIotas from paper wallet to Bitfinex took me 3 days and some hours of reading.

EOS #11 currency does not have paper wallet.

I know i might return to crypto assets when the market cools down. I would invest in platforms EOS, NEO, Cardano or something similar.

I do not recommend my friends to invest in crypto now. But if you do that, make a portfolio of 5 or more and do not use Kraken as I did and invest amount you can freely spend during night out. Do the account opening now – because it takes time or just use Revolut to purchase 3 main cryptos

I will return to cryptos after 80% crash which i believe will happen soon.

My prediction is that we will have a snowball effect when some of the currencies crashes. For example Bitconnect, which is a absolute scam (who can pay 1% interest a day?).

Bitconnect crashed. There was basically no effect on the market. Something scammy and not transparent is happening with Tether (crypto linked to USD, which was created by Bitfinex – biggest exchange in the world)

Housers investment

I was very bearish on Housers, both as a platform and as equity investment, but as i had 1000€ in the platform after difficulties putting money there, I have invested in 4 projects and after one year i will try to see what the true return will be, as in my opinion.

One thing i see that is already missing in the system is AutoInvest, because i see that i will get monthly returns so i will have to re-invest it manually.

 

after acquiring 4 projects for 250€ I put them on resale immediately with 20% markup. And in my surprise someone has bought one of my projects and i made 18% return on one property in few months.

 

Brickowner vs Housers equity

I believe the lean P2P companies will eat the banks in the near future. I commited 5k investment in equity of Brickowner and now thinking about getting the equity in Housers

In Brickowner i invested as a client and in Housers i have just made a deposit, but didn’t choose any property yet. Even though they have 60 employees their customer support sucks and the company itself is not clear for me. Who are they and what they do? Whom the projects belong to? Who is the lemonway (deposit is made to them)? What is the purpose of 2 subsidiaries which they own at 64% and 70%?

 HousersBrickownerEstateGuru
2017 October raising850k @ 44M 120k @ 2,5Mtotal raised 117k
Loans issued up to date *M320,2730
ProsPan EuropeanLean companyLean and transparent company
Cons60 employeesFew properties for investorsServing 3 small markets

Finally i decide to skip investing in Housers equity because there are too many unanswered question to which they hide “For confidentality issues” we can not answer you….

 

Property Partners
March 2016 – Property Partner raised a £15.9m Series B in March 2016. Valuation: £60m pre-money
⎝ Run rate of aprox. 2.4 million pounds monthly at the time of investment
o https://www.propertypartner.co/
o https://resources.propertypartner.co/
Other relevant data
⎝ Actual run rate of 2.7 million pounds in August 2017
o https://www.propertypartner.co/
o https://resources.propertypartner.co/
⎝ This is done with a leverage of almost 50% in most of their projects
⎝ Just one country
Time since company being incorporated
⎝ Funded in 28 May 2014 – more time to get to the 2-5 mn. mark

Exporo
May 2017: Capital Round of €8 million at €59 million pre-money
⎝ Run rate at the time of the round of €3.4 m – €4m
o (https://www.gruenderszene.de/allgemein/exporo-erhaelt-weitere-acht-millionen)
⎝ Just one country
⎝ Funded in 2013 – more than to achieve the 2.5 mn. Mark

The House Crowd
⎝ Actual Run rate of 2.5 million pounds,
o In 20 July 2017 -The House Crowd has raised £15m in the past six months, taking its total fundraising to date to £50m.
♣ http://www.propertyweek.com/finance/the-house-crowd-hits-%C2%A350m-milestone/5090523.article
⎝ Just one country
⎝ Funded in 29 December 2011 – more than to achieve the 2.5 mn. mark

Housers
⎝ Actual run rate of approx. 2.5 million euros
⎝ Presence in 1 country plus 2 additional (starting), 95% of investment comes only from Spain. First of the previous offering properties in 3 countries
⎝ Funded in 2015 (latest player – faster growth)- Less months to get to the €2.5 m. mark
⎝ Country with lower purchasing power (less consumption and investment per habitant)

Revolut vs N26

Revolut and N26 are new generation banks on App only. The initial idea of Revolut was travel card with free currency exchange. N26 has also this feature. Later on, with my personal experience I found out that you may be be charged up to 3% markup if you paid Revolut vs N26 in Thailand on the weekend. Other features of both apps are: free wire transfers, free cards, insurance.

 RevolutN26
Free withdrawal in Spain200€5000€
User experienceClear winner. Super easy and intuitive.The could just copy the Revolut here 🙂 especially that the card number could be visible in the app
Customer supportin app. with delaysold school email writing.
Apple PayNOYES
CryptocurrenciesBTC, ETH, LTCnone

I have been using both services for more than 15 months. I would say the Revolut was better in the beginning, but then were were two reasons why i switched to N26

  1. I reached the spend limit in Revolut and lifting 3 times was pain in the ass, and finally i was too bored to do that again.
  2. I need more than 200€ of cash every month.

Which is better?

If I could choose only one, i would choose N26 just because of the withdrawal. In general having both is good option and sometimes convenience especially if that card is dominant card in your country – so you can send money easy for your nanny or split the bills with friends.

Thailand, Malaysia (Russia and Ukraine)

Revolut puts a Markup on those currencies (THB, MYR, RUR) for purchases and ATM. So if you travel to those countries – definitely get the N26. N26 ads only 1.7% markup for ATM transactions, but with N26 black card this is 0%. (if you take 4k € / year in one of those countries, the cost of the Black card pays off. Not to mention other perks such as insurance)

My tips:

Get rid of your old school bank and get both

Revolut exchange rate on weekends rises.

For small businesses Revolut business product is quite expensive – 300€ / year, so get Paysera corporate account if you do not do currency exchange.

p.s. I am investor in Revolut

P2P portfolio 2017 Q3

Bondora. I did not make additional deposits to Bondora, but I have reinvested profit to #strategy3 High Risk loans. 157 loans for 2148€. Average return 78%. My total size of #strategy3 is 3428€ in almost 300 loans. Only 48 of them defaulted bringing 550€ of loss. My strategy works. Isn’t it ? 🙂 (net return on dashboard 10.2%)

Mintos. Less than 1% of bad debt – actually 0,16%. 12.95% return. During this period Mintos added new new loan originators from Bulgaria, Botswana and Czech Republic. I think i will ad 3k: 1k to each new country/originator. *mintos review

Twino. Their system is fucked up. I see 927€ cash idle. Trying to find loans – have one match. Return 11.99%

Housers. Deposited 1000€ but did not make any investment yet.

Brickowner. Deposited 1000GBP. Made one investment of 100.

Plan for 2017 Q4: Open 3 more accounts.

p.s. found a way to invest idle cash in Twino: created the auto-invest portfolio. 11% with buy-back guarantee in Kazakhstan